Refugees, not migrants
EDITOR: The suffering children massing at our borders are refugees. They have suffered (or feared) persecution, and they are fleeing war. According to Wikipedia, war is “generally characterized by extreme violence, social disruption and economic destruction.”
The refugees coming across our southern border are not immigrants. An immigrant is one who chooses to migrate. Central American refugees are fleeing violence, social and economic destruction. Here in the homeland, citizens are propagandized to see suffering children as threats to our wealth.
What an awful, frightened people we’ve become. When poor countries throughout the Middle East have given refuge to millions fleeing from wars we’ve instigated, in this rich land we can’t even give hungry children a place to rest.
Comb’s budget logic
EDITOR: Wow, what good fortune Santa Rosans have to have such a sensible, down-to-earth councilwoman: Julie Combs. Her Close to Home column in the July 5 paper (“An unbalanced city budget serves no one”) is just so deeply basically logical, it’s embarrassing that there are City Council members who disagree. Bottom line: She says no to allocating our city’s money that we haven’t got and have no plans to get. Duh.
EDITOR: Israel’s suggestion the people in Gaza had been warned and should leave areas Israel was targeting (“In Gaza Strip, havens few for Palestinians,” July 21) is missing the point. As the article points out, there are few places people are safe as hospitals and shelters have been bombed before, and Israel controls the borders.
The disproportionate use of force by Israel is like previous attacks. There is lip service to negotiations as Israeli settlers continue to occupy more land and a wall continues to divide Palestinian towns and take more land and water for Israel.
There is no military solution to the Israeli occupation of Palestine. Yes, Israelis have the right to live free from fear of bombings, but so do Palestinians. To reach that place there needs to be honest negotiation. The borders need to be opened and promised land needs to be returned to Palestine.
I call on the U.S. to suspend aid to Israel while it continues to break international law with the occupation of Palestine.
County garbage rates
EDITOR: Amy Norris (“For the birds,” Letters, July 21) expressed her dismay concerning the proposed expanded dead animal pickup and street sweeping programs contemplated by the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors.
The expanded programs will cost $275,115 for fiscal year 2014-15, and these services will be paid for by increases in garbage rates. How did the board circumvent Proposition 218 concerning increases to a property-related fee? Garbage rates are a property-related fee, as are rates for water and sewer.
The increase was accommodated by an amendment to the agreement with the franchised refuse collector along with an arbitrary 1 percent increase in the franchise fee. Was a Proposition 218 notice mailed to the affected property owners? Where was the required public hearing? Why should garbage rates finance the county’s permit for runoff from county roads? Are the only ones who are benefited by the “best method of practice” of street sweeping are refuse ratepayers?